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Hearing loss is America's most common workplace injury

Hearing loss is America’s most common workplace injury

Construction workers, loggers and commercial fisherman face undeniably dangerous work environments. But America’s most common workplace injury is not industry-specific. It afflicts workers in a broad range of occupations, and can permanently affect their quality of life and ability to earn a living.

A new report says hearing loss has become the most common work injury. Millions of American workers are exposed each year to potentially hazardous noise levels on the job.

Moderate workplace noise may be MORE dangerous

Statistically speaking, you face a higher risk of suffering work-related hearing loss if you work in mining, manufacturing or construction, but just about anyone who works in an environment where they are exposed to loud or moderate noise is common is at risk. Furthermore, research shows that you actually face a heightened risk of suffering hearing loss if you regularly work in a setting where noise levels are moderate, as opposed to extreme.

Why? Generally, employees who work in especially loud work settings are well aware of the noise-related dangers they face. Therefore, they are more likely to make efforts to protect themselves and their ears. Similarly, employers in extremely loud work environments are typically more concerned about their workers using earplugs, headphones or other protection. When the environment is only moderately loud, though, workers are more prone to taking risks, and employers are less likely to provide or insist on hearing protection.

Don’t take chances with your hearing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that hearing loss is the most common work-related injury, with 22 million U.S. workers facing exposure to damaging noise. The Department of Labor estimates annual workers’ compensation expenses for hearing damage at $242 million.

Hearing loss can haunt you long after you hang up your professional hat, and it can have a sizable impact on your overall quality of life. If you have concerns about how your employer protects you and other workers from work-related hearing loss, voice those concerns now before you experience further damage.

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